a yard sale

By: Isobel Li

        there’s the set of highlighters
funny how a set of highlighters have burrowed their way
into the section of her brain
labeled “relevant”
yet here are the highlighters
pink orange green
and everything in between
they were his favorite thing to steal
and valiantly attempt 
to copy her immaculate chemistry notes with
oh you can’t forget those highlighters
that endured angry abuse
during late night cramming sessions 
worn down and loved 
by the two lovers sharing them
        and yes there is the camera — a Polaroid 
he got it for her, you know
pale dainty eggshell yellow
the color of muted sunshine
he knew it would be perfect
and it was, definitely
because it faithfully captured all their memories 
through the sunny and stormy
the high school dances
fast food photo shoots
candid smiles over store bought cookies
birthday celebrations complete with balloons
it really was faithful, don’t you think
maybe even more faithful than he was
        see that? there’s her oversized hoodie
well technically it isn’t hers
she took it from him
when she was cold
and he was her warmth
because she needed that warmth
needed his love
how convenient he had exactly those two things!
but now she doesn’t want to return it
and face the boy who took something of hers in return
trade for a trade
but a sweatshirt isn’t worthy of a heart
        and finally there’s the unused perfume bottle
she bought it in a set of two
so the harmony of vanilla and roses
would caress her
and envelope him
and define them
until citrus and berries 
passionflowers with a punch 
and lavender spices
masked the defining scents
of her sweetness and love
        her thoughts are interrupted 
by a cheery voice from above
“how much?”
her gaze travels from the smiling young mother
to the little girl clutching a fluffy teddy
her teddy
their teddy
a sad smile traces her lips
it really is hard to let go

“no charge